Thursday, July 28, 2011

Indian Politics and Tribal Elections

Today the Rosebud Sioux Tribe is holding the Primary Elections of a new kind of election.  In the past, elections were held every two years, for every candidate inclusive of the Tribal President, Tribal Council Members, and other offices.  Each community used to be allocated members like in the US House of Representatives; where the largest communities had the largest representation of the vote in the House.  Now, there is only one candidate per Tribal community that forms the Tribal Council.  And now, the elections of community representatives are staggered.  Two of the biggest changes are: 1) each newly elected representative is a member of Tribal Council for THREE (no longer two) years; 2) eligible voters in all communities vote for candidates in all communities.  The final change here is what I found most outstanding in the new RST Tribal Election 2011.

My thoughts are first; it is advisable for Tribal members, before voting, to talk with an elder who has worked their entire lives on the Rosebud.  They know the candidates and can tell you about each candidate.  They know the integrity of each person running, if they know of them.  Secondly, I agree with the staggering of the election terms and that each community has equal representation.  A very forward-thinking step is the allowance of all eligible Tribal voters being able to vote for all candidates reservation-wide.

However, my fears as a younger member of the adult population on my reservation, lies within the systemic problems that our reservation faces concerning our leadership.  We have set a few good feet forward, but with unsolved murders and crimes on our reservation rampant, as well as other social ills that see no rest, I worry greatly for my future great-grandchildren's grandchildren.

Who we elect today, discerns our tomorrow, and determines what kind of future as indigenous people we have.

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